High-rises are now very common in Dhaka & other big cities in Bangladesh. Many high-rise buildings have already been constructed and a large numbers are in the pipelines. These buildings are now being constructed by private initiatives & real estate farms. Currently real-estate business is considered as industry and hundreds of thousands people are working in this sector. Booming real-estate is also the sign of affluences in our society and economy. The land/plot owners in Dhaka & Chattogram and in also some other places are getting benefitted to deal with the real-estate construction farms. It is almost a win-win situation from both the ends. A small number of plot owners are also constructing high-rises by their own initiatives.
We see that since early nineties of last century construction of high-rises got momentum. Initially people were not that much interested to high rise buildings. The ‘WALSO’ tower at Paribagh area seems to be one of the first ten high-rises in Dhaka. In the early nineties people used to take a glance at this tower whenever passing through Mymenshing road area near Paribagh. After that construction of a good number of high-rises residential buildings started in different areas in Dhaka. Over the years heavy pressure of our population, construction of High-rise residential buildings got momentums and this scenario is still ongoing. Up to the end of the decade of eighties we marked that Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani, Uttara & Baridhara were full of two or three storied buildings. But in the initial years of the decade of nineties the skyline of Dhaka started changing. One can get no similarities of skyline with present day Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Banani, Uttara with the eighties of those areas. What it indicates is the results of affluences of a portion of people of our society. The per capita income at present is much higher than those days. But the range of disparity is also much wide than those days mentioned above.
Now Dhaka is changing gradually as a city of High-rises. The RAJUK (Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakkah) & NHA (National Housing Authority) have constructed many high-rise residential buildings in different places of Dhaka. And hundreds of thousand families are already residing in those buildings. Many of such types of high-rises are now in under construction. Along with the government initiatives many private real-estate farms are constructing such types of high-rises in many places of this city. Beyond Dhaka & Chattogram other major cities are not out of this process.
Twenty years back people were diehard to be a plot owner in Dhaka in general. But living in the high-rises there arises some real problems facing by its residents in general to their everyday life. Many of its residents have not that mind-set to be accustomed in a collective way of life and they are used to pass their lives with an ego of strong ‘I’ness. It is very difficult to pass smooth daily life with the person possessing such a mind-set as neighbors. At Uttara Sector-18 Rajuk has constructed as many as more than eighty high-rises buildings. At present about thirty five percent occupancy of flats are there and often owners or tenants come and take possession of these flats. The rent is at present much lesser than the other residential areas of Dhaka. But after the opening of Metro-rail rent will be much higher and it is perceived by many persons. Living in high-rise buildings in Dhaka & other areas has some practical problems which need to be addressed
In one high-rise building many families are residing and they come from different cultural, Social & educational background. So the mind-set of the flat owners, tenants are not similar and like-minded. For that reason taking collective decisions become difficult sometimes.
Common Space & its uses
Common space in high-rises is meant for the uses by all. But in practice there is a tendency among the flat owners & tenants occupying the space in front of their flats and corridors which is dedicated to the all the users’ movements. But in general many of them keep their extra furniture, cupboard by the side of the corridors & common space of the building. And it creates hindrances of the easy movements. These activities are also damaging the decency of the corridors and common spaces, stairs etc. So the residents of the high-rise buildings and their committees should look into the matter and address these problems.
Common space lights & fans are also important in high rise buildings. The residents of the buildings should be conscious about the appropriate uses of fans and lights in the corridors and common spaces, stairs etc. Lights should be switched on during evening to dawn in the corridors and fans should be used whenever it is required. In this way the use of electricity might be minimized.
Use of water is also very important issue in the high-rise residential buildings. Many of us are not that much conscious to water use. Some of us are using water lavishly as if he/she is not answerable to anybody. This mind-set should be changed. Even the owners of many vacant flats are not that much conscious about this. Occasionally they come & visit their vacant flats keeping themselves very much unaware about the lights off or on. Even they are also unaware about the taps which may start seepage water. Many a times it creates problems after oozing water from the flats to the common spaces, corridors & stairs. Ultimately it becomes damaging to their flats. But being conscious the owner of the vacant flats can easily help to reduce unnecessary water & electrify use.
Garbage Disposal & Cleaning
Garbage disposal & Cleaning is another important issue prevailing in high-rise buildings in Dhaka. Many residents of high-rises are not sufficiently aware about this problem. Some family members of upstairs throw kitchen garbage through the window of the kitchen and keep their brooms in the corner of the common spaces or corridors. This creates irritations among the residents. This is why everybody should be conscious about this. In practice every high-rise residential building has separate building management committee. Everything goes well if management committee is strong but week management committee cannot ensure the order in that particular building.
It is a common trend in Dhaka & other big cities to employ private security personnel for maintaining security issues in the buildings. CC camera, asking strangers where to go and watching vehicles in & out of the buildings are the main tasks of the security personnel working there. Different security companies provide these security personnel. This is also a good sector of employing unemployed youth in Bangladesh and they can satisfy the customers moderately.
Service Charge & Maintenances
Every new high-rise building’s maintenance cost is comparatively lesser than older high-rises. The building management committee must take it to their cognizance. Sufficient fund is required for the good management. But creating fund is a bit challenging as some residents are always unwilling to pay dues timely and start delaying. For smooth management & maintenances of a building a separate fund may be created otherwise after 3/4 years many new buildings’ residents will face many problems affecting their daily life. The lift might be not functioning well, water supply &garbage disposal might be stopped for shortages required fund. For that reason emergency fund should be created for the smooth living in high-rise buildings and at the same time strong, efficient building management committee with appropriate authority must be created and it has become now demand of the time.
Dr. Syed Nesar Ahmad Rumy, Retired Civil Servant, Dhaka